University of Michigan Week of SEISMIC

By Nita Tarchinski, edited by Ashley Atkinson

April Showers Bring May in Michigan

University of Michigan Week of SEISMIC, May 2-6, 2022

We’re not done yet! The fourth Week of SEISMIC brought collaborators to Ann Arbor, MI for a full week of activities. Eric Bell, Heather Rypkema, Nicholas Young, Becky Matz, and Cait Hayward started us off with a hybrid presentation onUsing equity data to inform campus change“, which explored the UM Assessment Toolkit Initiative’s role in promoting institutional change.

As Measurement project team members started to arrive in town that evening, we met up at Jolly Pumpkin for an informal and savory dinner. A few members even made the walk to Michigan Stadium for a view of the Block M.



With an early start on Tuesday, the Measurement team got right to work discussing revisions to their research design for a SEISMIC-wide parallel analysis project. Team members brainstormed new research questions, considered the possibilities and drawbacks of different analysis approaches, and worked to refine their population of study.

At midday we moved to the Michigan League for a presentation by Sara Brownell on “Creating more inclusive STEM learning environments for LGBTQ+ individuals”. Sara shared findings from several of her research studies to help attendees understand how active learning spaces and instructional strategies can better support LGBTQ+ students.

The Measurement team continued their discussions in the afternoon and ended the evening at Black Pearl for dinner.


As we reached the halfway point of our week, the Measurement team wrapped up conversations and made a plan for next steps. With a journal venue in mind, an established population of study, and clear research questions, the next step is to refine the analysis code.


Meanwhile, the Enriching Scholarship conference at UM was just starting, and several SEISMIC members were lined up to present. Perry Samson presented on the SEISMIC CLUEs project, Susan Cheng, Elizabeth Levesque, and collaborators shared on “Teaching the Whole Student – How to Create a Supportive Classroom Climate for Students and Instructors using Wellness Check-ins,” and Vanessa Woods, Mike Wilton, Sara Brownell, and Nita Tarchinski gave an overview of SEISMIC and some of our different classroom innovations instructors can use.

As the Measurement Team was wrapping up its meetings and the Constructs project team members were arriving in Ann Arbor, we made our way to the Michigan League once more for a launch of our SEISMIC Summer Book – Teaching to Transgress, and a lively game of SEISMIC Trivia. Lucky individuals went home with new SEISMIC swag and (we hope) a better understanding of the collaboration and their role in it.

A trip to Ann Arbor is not complete without a visit to Zingerman’s Delicatessen and Blank Slate Creamery, so on we went.



The next day members from the Constructs Working Group met to reflect on successes of the group and where to go from here. It was heartening to hear about all of the work of the group and realize the impact this group has made on the collaboration and our goals for STEM education.

Ginger Shultz led us into the afternoon with a talk on “Capturing the Collaborative Design of Culturally Relevant Inquiry Activities”, showing us how to create a more equitable experience for students by making cultural connections to academic content and activating the resources students bring to the classroom.

The Constructs Frameworks Project team gathered in the afternoon to review the team’s progress on the Critical Race Theory draft primer and to sign up to write new primers on other critical theories. Café Zola hosted us for a delightful Constructs dinner that night where we savored seasoned fries, tangy calamari, fresh meats and cheeses, and plenty more.

As we neared the end of the week SEISMIC members participated in a special tour of the new UM Central Campus Classroom Building, taking in the impressive classroom in the round, active learning classrooms, and 572-person auditorium.

Our final event was a presentation by Nikeetha Farfan D’Souza on “Remembering and Reclaiming the “Critical” in the Age of Anti-CRT America: What Does “Critical” Mean and Why is this Important for DEI in STEM Higher Education Now?“, prompting thoughtful discussions on critical theories and doing critical work.

And with that, the UM Week of SEISMIC came to an end. We’ll see you in two weeks for the final Week of SEISMIC of the spring!



Nita Tarchinski

Nita Tarchinski is the Project Manager for the Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC) Collaboration, coordinating multi-institutional and multidisciplinary research and teaching projects focused on making introductory STEM courses more equitable and inclusive.

Ashley Atkinson

Ashley Atkinson is a Program Assistant for SEISMIC Central, lending a hand to whichever projects need support. Her primary projects include the SEISMIC website, making graphics for various efforts, and editing a podcast. As an alum from Michigan State University, Ashley is passionate about equity and inclusion in STEM alongside science communication.